As Notre Dame continues to build upon its Class of 2017 with three commitments from Irish Invasion weekend, they’re also piecing together the foundation of the Class of 2018.
The first two that jumped on board – quarterback Phil Jurkovec (Gibsonia, Pa.) and running back Markese Stepp (Indianapolis, Ind.) – gave the Irish the potential backfield of the future.
In 6-foot-3, 268-pound Jayson Ademilola and 6-foot-2, 225-pound Justin Ademilola (Jersey City, N.J.), the Irish have the pieces to begin constructing the defensive front of the future as they’ll join Class of 2017 commitment Kurt Hinish (Pittsburgh, Pa.).
Jayson is listed as a four-star defensive end. Justin is rated a three-star outside linebacker. They’re unlikely to see the light of day at those respective positions.
Jayson is a four-star interior defensive lineman, not a four-star defensive end. But that’s the position he currently plays, so that’s where he’s listed. Justin is a three-star strongside end/three-technique, not a three-star outside linebacker, although Justin is more of an outside linebacker than Jayson is a defensive end on the next level.
As sophomores at St. Peter’s Preparatory School – the same high school that produced Irish sophomore quarterback Brandon Wimbush – both play with not just good pad level and a wide base, but outstanding pad level and an outstanding wide base.
That’s an excellent starting point. Coaches will tell you they can teach that. But the reality is that most times, you either play with the proper pad level/base or you don’t. The Ademilola twins do and it’s from there they will construct their college games.
Effort is not an issue with the Ademilolas. Generally aligned on each side of the line of scrimmage in a three- or four-point stance, they play hard, they play to and through the whistle, and they keep chasing until there is no more chasing to be done. Another good building-block asset.
With effort comes a toughness. Another good building block. Both tackle from the down low and lift up. Another building block.
To get a pair of sophomores with these assets and two more years to develop on the prep level is an excellent accomplishment in collecting the pieces to the Class of 2018.
But there is much work to be done, starting with a complete and total commitment to improving their quickness off the snap and overall athleticism.
Both can play, at times, a very deliberate game. Irish fans were spoiled by Sheldon Day’s get-off ability. The Ademilolas will focus on improving their lateral quickness, their change of direction and overall athletic prowess. Explosiveness off the snap is a focal point.
Jayson has the potential to be a beast on the interior. At this stage of his development, he is very deliberate off the snap of the football. He’s effective because of that outstanding low set-up/base and strength, particularly for his age.
But he’s strictly a bull-rusher with limited side-to-side range, which is why he’ll end up inside. He skates around corners, which generally means he hasn’t developed the lower-leg strength and athleticism necessary to make rapid change of direction movements.
Jayson could play three-technique for the Irish or even nose tackle. It’s doubtful, at least at this stage of his development, that he’ll beat out Hinish, particularly with Hinish entering the program a year in advance of Jayson. Nose tackle could be Jayson’s future at Notre Dame, and that would be just fine.
Justin is a little more difficult to pigeonhole. He’s probably not an outside linebacker at the next level, particularly with two more years to add to his 225-pound body. He could be a strongside defensive end.
He has some off-the-edge skills from a nice locked-and-loaded three-point stance. His backside pursuit speed is what rules him out at outside linebacker, and even brings into question his ability to play strongside end. His change of direction is very mechanical. He hasn’t learned how to get off blocks once he’s stood up.
They could be a strongside end (Justin) and a three-technique (Jayson). They could be a strongside end (Justin) and a nose (Jayson). They could very well be a three-technique (Justin) and a nose (Jayson).
Make no mistake; these are two nice catches as they head into their sophomore seasons. Most rate Jayson ahead of Justin, but it would not be a shock if Justin was a better player long-term. That’s not a prediction, just a possibility to consider because he appears to have more position flexibility.
The Ademilolas will benefit greatly from a complete and total commitment to speed training and physical conditioning. They’ll be strong enough. They’ll work hard enough. They’ll give 100 percent effort. But will they be athletic and mobile enough?
At St. Peter’s, the scheme helps free them up to make unimpeded plays because of the high frequency of twists employed by the Marauders’ coaching staff. They won’t go unblocked on the next level.
Brian VanGorder will use twists as well, but his approach is more of an attacking, get-off-the-football approach, which was perfect for a Sheldon Day. The Ademilolas have to learn how to consistently beat people off the snap in one-on-one situations as opposed to getting schemed into making plays.
Some have wondered if this was a package deal or not. It doesn’t matter. Both are worthy of Notre Dame’s recruitment as productive sophomore players who are going to be bigger, stronger and hopefully more agile than they are now. There’s no reason Notre Dame’s shouldn’t take a chance on both.
Let’s put it this way: if you’re going to recruit one, recruit the other. They’ll be more productive together than they would be apart.
(Editor’s note: For a more complete film analysis, watch it a second time and observe Justin during Jayson’s highlight film and track Jayson during Justin’s highlight film.)